This past year, I fell in love. No, it is not the typical human love, it is much more. I fell in love with burros/donkeys. Burro is the Spanish word for donkey. I had no previous experience with them before the ranch, but they have captured a very special place in my heart.
Who can forget Esperanza, forced to stand on chicken coop wire while living her life in squalor with hoofs that resembled elf shoes from complete lack of care.
Jenny and Forrest, caught up in a deadly game of being rounded up by the government after a hurricane.
Fuzz, kicked to the streets for he no longer served a human purpose.
And of course my first donkey, our beloved, now deceased, Curly who spent almost 40 years living in pure neglect as a lawn ornament in what could only be described as a trash dump.
I began asking myself, what can one person do to promote awareness and change in order to save one of God’s most loving creatures?
“IT is a sad irony that it’s a donkey’s ability to suffer in silence that has made it one of the world’s most abused animals. Docile and trusting, with its doleful eyes and long ears, the donkey stoically carries on in pain when injured, hiding its suffering. So its unfair destiny has historically been one of cruelty and mistreatment.” – Julie Carpenter/Sue Blackhall
I started to do research after a friend of mine, who diligently works to find homes for burros, shared her frustration over the mistreatment of these beautiful animals. Stacey runs the Animal Care and Control for one of the most impoverished areas in the United States, Saint Landry Parish in Louisiana. I wanted to know more when I rescued Jenny and her baby Forrest from being killed in Saint Landry. I was devastated to learn Jenny’s brave story of fending off coyotes to protect her baby Forrest (leaving her muzzle forever damaged and scarred), only to find herself and her baby waiting to be slaughtered. I needed to understand how she ended up at the animal care and control facility. As I began my research, I found that these burros have been rounded up from government land to suffer horrific abuse and in many cases slaughtered. I couldn’t understand why the government was plucking these beautiful creatures from their homeland where they have lived since the 1800’s. My gut said, like so many tragic animal plights, it was probably for greed and a skewed position that their lives don’t matter. I was spot on.
I cringed as I forced myself to watch a government round up. A helicopter swoops in on families and runs them over. The fear and agony they endure during their capture broke my heart.
And of course, it is not just these governmental round ups that inflict pain on the burros. Humans, as individuals, are, always capable of inflicting the harshest forms of cruelty, similar to what Esperanza experienced. Often they are being forced to do more work than their small bodies can cope with and when they can no longer do the work they are tossed aside and neglected. Viewed as disposable, they are often destroyed.
This page will be dedicated to the forgotten equine, the burro. As we move forward with plans to start fencing and add additional stalls, it will be with the donkey in mind. At the ranch they will never suffer again but I feel that isn’t enough, they need a voice too. Together we can be that voice.
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